This post was sponsored by Optimum Nutritition as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As an endurance athlete who is currently in the thick of preparing for another IronMan, I train…A LOT. That means properly recovering from my training sessions is KEY so that I can be ready to give my all in my next workout. On somedays when I have over a long run and over a two hour ride, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to get everything else on my to-do list done right after since training takes up such a large chunk of my day. But I’ve learned from experience. When I dedicate time to proper rest and recovery oriented activities, I am a better athlete all around. Today I wanted to share my 6 Ways to Boost Post-Workout Recovery! These 6 strategies are CRUCIAL for me and I am pretty sure they’ll make a big difference in your training as well!
Make time for stretching
Stretching may seem like nothing compared to a 13 mile run or a 50 mile ride, but it’s the simplicity of it that works wonders. I make sure to take at least 20 minutes after an intense workout to cool down and stretch my muscles. Yes, I stretch AFTER my workout instead of before. Stretching after a workout helps to reduce muscle fatigue. When you stretch after a workout, your muscles are already warmed up and you benefit from increased blood circulation. Stretching also relieves muscular tension and helps lessen soreness you may experience later.
Pack in the post-workout PROTEIN
When you think about ‘packing in protein’ after a workout, your mind probably flashes to a meathead in the gym guzzling down a protein shake. But, believe it or not, they’re doing something right there! Post-workout protein is very important, especially for those who train fasted or haven’t eaten for a few hours. Protein following your workout goes towards refueling and replenishing your muscles.
Everyone has their own favorite protein sources, but for me it’s all about convenience, nutrition, AND great taste. Lately, I’ve been loving the line of products from Optimum Nutrition including their ON® Whey Protein Isolate and ON® Protein Cake Bites (I even use their ON® Performance Energy as a pre-workout supplement when I am lacking energy!). Whey protein is the best protein to take in post-workout in my opinion since it’s so rapidly absorbed by the body. ON® Whey Protein Isolate comes in two delicious flavors (chocolate and vanilla) and provides 25 grams of clean whey protein per serving. I love that it’s free of gluten, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. The ON® Protein Cake Bites are just as protein-packed (20 grams per serving!) and come in fun flavors like: Birthday Cake, Red Velvet (my favorite!), Chocolate Dipped Cherry, and Chocolate Frosted Donut. They are great for me when I am on the run after a workout and don’t have time to mix up a protein shake with the whey.
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Prioritize post workout nutrition
The foods you eat right after your workout and throughout the day have a major impact on how well you recover from the training session. Choosing nutrient dense whole foods that have a good balance of complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats is a great way to speed your recovery process and bolster the progress you made in your workout. If you can, try to get in a real meal (not including your post-workout protein) within in two hours of your workout to avoid leaving your muscles underfed and depleted.
Reach for potassium rich foods
What do white potatoes and bananas have in common?! They are FULL of potassium. Including a good source of potassium in your post-workout meal restores muscular energy and replenishes the potassium reserves that were used during your session. It also helps prevent cramps and muscle soreness.
Get some (or A LOT of) sleep
When we’re juggling training, work, and our families, staying up late and waking up early can become the norm. But sleep is crucial for people doing high volume or intense training. Heck, sleep is important for EVERYONE! Sleep is the necessary downtime the body needs to reset and restore itself. The most rebuilding of cells and muscles is done while we sleep. If you’re getting less than 7 hours per night, your training is likely suffering because of it. A lack of sleep causes fatigue, fogginess, mental weakness, and lack of motivation. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep, but in reality upwards of 9 hours may be needed for some athletes.
Include some active recovery
Even in the peak of my training, I always take at least one rest day a week. Rest days give your muscles (and your entire body!) a much needed break from the break down and stress you put it through with every workout. For some, total rest is necessary; but for others, active rest is the way to go. Light movement, like walking, yoga, physical therapy exercises, or leisurely cycling, can be great for loosening up tight muscles and aiding recovery. I love foam rolling on my off days to stimulate blood flow in my legs and improve circulation to my muscles.
So there you have it, My 6 Ways to Boost Post-Workout Recovery. I hope you find these tips helpful and maybe start including some of them in your own post-workout regimen. Remember to enter the HUGE Optimum Nutrition sweepstakes I mentioned above. You can win a bike AND the same supplements I use for my own training! We’ll be training twins! 😉
Thank you so much for stopping by! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Have a Great Week!